To co-produce surface-to-air missile
To expedite talks on Rafale fighter jet
Tribune News Service
The two countries were on the track to ink the mega deal for 126 Rafale MMRCA for the IAF
Talks marked months of disagreements over the cost of building them in India
The talks have progressed slowly because of differences of opinion over technology transfer, sourcing of spares and the selection of an Indian partner
However, the joint statement said the two sides noted the ongoing progress of negotiations and look forward to their early conclusion
New Delhi, February 14
Consolidating their strategic partnership, India and France today announced conclusion of negotiations to jointly produce the short range surface-to-air missile and committed themselves to speeding up negotiations on the $10 billion deal for Rafale aircraft and on the setting up of six European Power Reactors (EPRs) at Jaitapur as part of bilateral civil nuclear cooperation.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held wide-ranging talks with visiting French President Francois Hollande here this afternoon after which the two countries signed nearly two dozen documents for cooperation in fields like education, culture, space and railways.
“We have concluded negotiations on the short range surface-to-air missile, which, once approved by the government, will be co-developed and co-produced in India,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced at a joint media interaction with the French leader.
The two countries had been discussing the surface-to-air missile, named ‘maitri’ (friendship) for more than five years. India’s DRDO and France’s MBDA are likely to jointly develop this system, which was initially expected to cost about $ 1.60 billion. However, its cost is likely to go up manifold now. The system would be deployed by the IAF and the Navy.
It was also quite clear that the two countries were on track to ink the mega deal for 126 Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for the IAF in June-July after months of disagreements over the cost of building them in India. The talks have progressed slowly because of differences about how to price technology transfer, sourcing of spares and the selection of an Indian partner.
However, the joint statement issued by India and France said the two sides noted the ongoing progress of negotiations on the MMRCA programme and look forward to their early conclusion.
With regard to civil nuclear cooperation, The Indian PM and the French President took note of the MoU between NPCIL of India and AREVA of France for setting up six 1650 MW each European pressurised reactors (EPRs) at Jaitapur. They also reviewed the progress on the first two EPR units and noted that the NPCIL and AREVA were engaged actively in techno-commercial discussions. It was emphasised that the nuclear power plant at Jaitapur would incorporate the highest safety standards.
France also expressed anew its support to India for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council at the earliest and also becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) and other export control bodies. The two countries decided to establish an annual dialogue between their Finance Ministers to boost bilateral economic relationship.
On Afghanistan, the two sides expressed commitment to the key principles for a peaceful inter-afghan dialogue: acceptance of the Afghan Constitution, renunciation to violence and breaking links with terrorism.
The two countries also called on Pakistan to abide by its commitment to expeditiously bring to justice all the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack.
Under the agreement for cooperation in the field of railways, France would assist India in the upgradation of railways stations, high speed corridors and the modernisation of the railway network.